Rabobank acquires 49 percent stake in Zambia National Commercial Bank PLC

Jan 2007
Zambia , January, 07 2007 - The Dutch Rabobank and the Zambian government have agreed that Rabobank will acquire 49 percent of the shares in the Zambia National Commercial Bank PLC (Zanaco). This participating interest ensues from the Zambian government’s privatisation programme and as it relates to Zanaco. The Zambian government selected Rabobank following an international competitive tender for a number of reasons including the fact that Rabobank intends to increase the number of Zanaco branches particularly in the country’s rural areas. Rabobank will furthermore invest in an extensive long-term program that will enable Zanaco to develop into a leading financial services provider in Zambia, consistent with the Zambian government’s stated privatisation objectives.

Rabobank aims to deploy its knowledge, management and capital in order to revolutionise the financial services sector in Zambia. This will benefit the growth of the local business community and entrepreneurship. The opportunity to borrow money enables enterprising Zambians to improve their products and sales and to generate more income. Greater income and investment in turn is expected to create greater employment. In contrast to the other large banks in the country, Zanaco also operates numerous branch offices in Zambia’s rural areas and consequently contributes to raising the standard of living in these non-urban areas.

The privatisation of Zanaco is a component of the economic reforms that the Zambian government has been implementing with the assistance of multi-lateral international financing agencies and commenced in 2001.

Zanaco was founded in 1969 and its head office is located in Lusaka. The bank has a network of more than 50 branch offices in Zambia, making it the country’s largest consumer bank. The bank has 1,100 employees. As of December 31st 2005, it had net assets of US$ 384 million

The Zambian government will immediately following legal and financial closure of the Rabobank transaction, be proceeding to offer 25.8% shareholding to the Zambian public and eligible local institutions. The resultant shareholding will see Rabobank retain 49% shareholding whilst the Zambian government will hold 25% and the Zambian public 26%. Thus Zanaco will remain majority Zambian owned.

Bert Heemskerk, chairman of the Executive Board of the Rabobank Group, is very pleased about this participating interest. ‘This participating interest is important for our bank as part of the Rabobank Development Program. The program gives private individuals and business owners in urban and rural areas of developing countries access to affordable financial services. We already have interests in rural banks in Tanzania and China. Mozambique is on the list of candidates for 2007.’

Zambia is the second participating interest acquired by Rabobank in an African bank as part of the Rabobank Development Program. Heemskerk: ‘Our program supports rural banks that have the potential to develop into fully-fledged financial services providers with a national network of branch offices. We want to transform these banks into successful retail banks for agricultural and other businesses, along the lines of Rabo itself in the Netherlands.’ Rabobank already has an interest in the Tanzanian National Microfinance Bank and the Chinese United Rural Cooperative Bank in Hangzhou.

Rabobank Group
The Rabobank Group is a financial services leader providing retail and institutional banking and agricultural finance solutions in key markets around the world.  From its century-old roots as a finance cooperative founded by Dutch farmers, Rabobank has grown into one of the 15 largest banks worldwide with approximately US$650 billion in assets and operations in about 38 countries.  Rabobank is the only private bank in the world with the highest possible credit rating from both Standard & Poor’s (AAA) and Moody’s Investor Service (Aaa), and is ranked as the world’s third safest bank by Global Finance magazine.

As there are still financial, legal and procedural matters to attend to,  details of the terms of the transaction will be released by the Zambia Privatisation Agency as required under Zambian statutes, following legal and financial closure, scheduled for the end of January 2007.


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